Time and time again, China has reiterated that the territorial dispute case on the issue of South China Sea lodged by the Philippines before the United Nations tribunal in The Hague is moot and inconsistent with the provisions of UNCLOS—the same international law that the Philippines invoked in its case against China.
In an article published in a state-run news website Xinhua.net titled China Voice: South China Sea arbitration lacks legal basis, the Philippines has been accused of plotting a political provocation in the guise of unilaterally lodging a case before the Permanent Court of Arbitration in 2013.
It can be recalled that in October last year, the same court ruled acquiring jurisdiction of the case. But China remained adamant in recognizing the court’s jurisdiction nor participating in the proceedings whatsoever. In fact, China was consistently insisting that it has no plans of recognizing the decision of the court regardless of its outcome, which is expected to hand down decision by this month or next month.
South China Sea Dispute
In the article, the same case was intended to politically provoke China with the backing of the West, particularly the United States. It noted that the Philippines wants to make it appear that the case’s main intent was to exercise territorial sovereignty in the South China Sea and maritime delimitation.
“The move by the tribunal has worsened tensions between China and the Philippines, affected regional stability and international maritime order, and contradicted its purpose of peaceful dispute settlement. Moreover, by unilaterally initiating the arbitration, the Philippines not only abandoned the ‘Pacta sunt servanda’ principle in international law, which means ‘agreements must be kept,” the report noted.
South China Sea Tensions
Meanwhile, Philippine President Benigno Aquino III earlier accused China of breaking deal on South China in the Scarborough shoal, an outcrop group of islands in the South China Sea, Reuters reported.
Aquino was referring to a deal between China and the Philippines when the two countries agreed to withdraw its ships in the region. Only the Philippines honored the deal, Aquino added.
“Now, their continued presence is something that we have continuously objected to. There was a deal, which we observed religiously. We hope the other side will do what we have done,” Aquino was quoted as saying by the Reuters.